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Stalin asks Centre to list schemes being obstructed by TN govt

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Chennai, March 1 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Thursday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that his government was obstructing Central government schemes in the state, asking him to list examples.

“Are we blocking them from opening the AIIMS hospital (in Madurai)?” Stalin said in a letter to his cadres and leaders and leaders of his DMK on the eve of his birthday (March 1)

The DMK chief said that his party had opposed the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) as it was “crushing the dreams of medical education of the poor”, and asserted that his party would oppose the National Education Policy 2020. He said that his party had opposed the three farm laws which were since reversed, and also opposed the Citizenship Amendment Act as it went against minorities and Sri Lankan Tamils.

Stalin criticised the Prime Minister’s claim in his speech here to crush and destroy the DMK, noting that the history of Tamil Nadu revealed as to what happened to those who tried to do this.

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The DMK chief also said that he would not say the same for the BJP as in a democratic set-up, the BJP would continue to remain. He quipped that the BJP could be a good opposition party after the 2024 elections as it had “failed” as a ruling party.

He claimed that even though PM Modi was visiting the state repeatedly, the BJP knew it would not win, and called upon his party cadre to work to ensure a change in the Union government, by removing the BJP from power.

–IANS

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Ahmedabad cops seize drugs valued at Rs 3.5 cr concealed in parcels

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Ahmedabad, June 22 (IANS) The Ahmedabad Crime Branch has busted an international drug smuggling network that used parcels containing clothes and toys to hide and transport narcotics, including liquid drugs and high-quality marijuana.

Officials recovered 58 packets of hybrid marijuana and two bottles of liquid drugs, valued at over Rs 3.5 crore, concealed ingeniously in books, teddy bears, and other children’s toys. The parcels, originating from the US and Canada, were identified and intercepted with the assistance of sniffer dogs and subsequent videography documentation during the unboxing process.

Additional Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Bharat Patel, highlighted the sophisticated methods employed by the traffickers, who leveraged social media platforms to promote and distribute their illicit products.

“The careful monitoring of social media and information from informants has played a crucial role in unmasking this new modus operandi,” said Additional ACP Patel. He also noted the collaboration with the Customs Department, which had suspected such activities.

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The investigation has revealed that the parcels were often addressed to non-existent people at incorrect addresses — a tactic used by the smugglers to evade detection. Known courier companies were manipulated into shipping these parcels. Once the parcels were in transit, accomplices would track them using a unique code, receive delivery details, and intercept the parcels before delivery.

“The operation has not only prevented significant quantities of drugs from circulating on the streets but also helped us identify several individuals involved in the operation, shedding light on a broader network,” added Patel.

The crime branch has registered an FIR and is continuing its investigation to apprehend everyone involved in this intricate smuggling ring.

–IANS

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Invisible foreign forces conspired to prevent PM Modi's third term in office: Shobha Karandlaje

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Bengaluru, June 22 (IANS) Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Shobha Karandlaje, on Saturday said that not only internal forces but “invisible foreign forces” had conspired to ensure that Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not a third term in office.

Addressing a gathering at the felicitation programme of Central ministers and MPs here, the Union Minister, who hails from Karnataka, said: “The foreign forces stood against the BJP during the election. Social media were against us. It was funded by foreign countries. Many countries did not want to see Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm as the country is set to become one of the powerful countries in the world. The conspiracy was hatched at the international level.”

However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on to assume the PM’s office for the third term, defeating the conspiracies, despite the roadblocks and facing all charges against him, she said.

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“This is our strength. This was the conviction of the people of Bharat,” Shobha Karandlaje said.

“The win in the Lok Sabha election is a testimony that the people of the country will win over any war waged against them. The way was clear for us, and the government was formed. Prime Minister Modi’s conviction is to take NDA allies along with the BJP,” she added.

The Union Minister said that in Karnataka, the BJP and JD-S contested polls together and worked jointly.

“There was no difference of opinion in any constituency, and we got good results. We lost a few seats by low margins. In the Kalaburagi seat, the margin was just 25,000. The coming days belong to us,” she said.

“In Karnataka, there is an anti-people, anti-Hindu, and anti-poor government in place. We are constantly targeted here. Immediately after the Congress government came to power, electricity bills shot up, the registration fee was hiked, and there was inflation. The middle and lower-middle class who are paying power bills are made to pay double the amount,” the Union Minister said, criticising the Siddaramaiah-led Karnataka government.

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“The government will not be able to pay the salaries of its employees in another two months,” she said.

Saying that the Congress government has already suffered a blow, referring to the tribal welfare board scandal, the Union Minister said: “We need to continue the agitation till we get the resignations of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy, D.K. Shivakumar.”

Talking on the performance of the BJD-JD(S) combine in the Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka, the Union Minister said: “Winning 19 seats in Lok Sabha election was not an easy job as the Congress is in power in the state. It had claimed that the BJP wouldn’t cross the single digit mark. But the people of the state have ensured our victory.”

–IANS

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J&K: Sangaldan-Reasi rail link to become operational by month end

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Jammu, June 22 (IANS) The Sangaldan-Reasi rail link in Jammu and Kashmir is expected to be flagged off by the end of June, officials said on Saturday.

Officials said that the final inspection of the Sangaldan-Reasi section of USBRL, including the world’s highest railway bridge over the Chenab River, will be conducted later this month.

“Regular train service will start by the end of this month or in the first week of July from Baramulla to Reasi. Only a 17 km long section from Reasi to Katra remains to be made operational, which will be done within six months,” an official said.

A trial run of the MEMU train (Mainline Electric Multiple Unit) was conducted recently on the newly-constructed electrified line section (Reasi-Sangaldan), covering a route length of 46 km on the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramula Rail Link (USBRL) project, at a speed of 40 kmph.

This was the first time that a full train crossed over the Chenab River bridge between Dugga and Bakkal stations. This bridge is the world’s highest railway bridge featuring a central span of 467 metres at an impressive height of 359 metres, which is higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

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So far, 209 km out of the total 272 km of USBRL already stands commissioned. The phases include the 118 km Qazigund-Baramulla section commissioned in October 2009, the 18 km Banihal-Qazigund section commissioned in June 2013, the 25 km Udhampur-Katra section commissioned in July 2014, and the 48.1 km Banihal-Sangaldan stretch commissioned in February this year.

Once the Reasi-Katra section becomes operational, the Kashmir Valley will be connected by the rail link with the rest of the country.

Work on the project began in 1997 and it passes through some of the most difficult topography in the history of rail link laying projects in the world.

Once the USBRL becomes operational, it would not only be the realisation of the centuries-old dream of a rail link between the landlocked Valley and the rest of the country, but also an iconic marvel of engineering for which thousands of engineers, skilled and semi-skilled workforce spent decades.

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–IANS

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Encounter breaks out between security forces & terrorists along LoC in Uri

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Srinagar, June 22 (IANS) An encounter broke out between security forces and terrorists along the Line of Control (LoC) in J&K’s Uri sector on Saturday.

The encounter started after terrorists opened fire at the security forces when the latter was carrying out searches in Bajrang-Uri after receiving information about the presence of terrorists who infiltrated the Indian side of the LoC.

Army’s Srinagar headquartered 15 Corps said in a post on X, “Based on specific intelligence inputs, an anti-infiltration Operation was launched in the Uri Sector. Contact was established with infiltrating terrorists and the operation is in progress.”

–IANS

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Factors that led to demolition of YSRCP's under-construction office

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) The demolition of YSR Congress Party (YSRCP)’s under-construction central office in Tadepalli of Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district on Saturday led to a war of words between the ruling TDP and Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP.

Jagan Reddy accused the newly-elected Chandrababu Naidu government of pursuing “vendetta politics” while the latter termed it “judicious”, claiming that the party office was built illegally on the land of the state’s Irrigation Department.

As the issue snowballs into a major controversy, here is an explainer on the irregularities and alleged abuse of power by the then-YSRCP-led government in allotting itself a vast chunk of land for building the party office.

A slew of government documents, available in the public domain, shows how the previous regime overrode the objections by the Engineer-in-Chief (Irrigation Department) and went on to “illegally” build the party office. The documents also show consent from government departments was either not taken or bypassed.

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On February 16, 2023, the then Special Chief Secretary & Chief Commission of Land Administration Sai Prasad issued an order, allocating the said land for construction of the YSRCP’s office.

The District Collector was expected to take due action in this. He was mandated to obtain consent from the Irrigation Department and enter into a lease deed on the stipulated conditions, however, the task was delegated to the Tahsildar of Tadepalli.

Further documents show the Tahsildar handing over land to the YSRCP district president, subject to consent from the irrigation authorities.

A document, purportedly an RTI reply on the said land, says, “no consent was given by the Water Resources Department to alienate or lease land in Tadepalli of Guntur district for construction of YSR Congress Party office building.”

Notably, the then Engineer-in-Chief (Irrigation Department), in a reply dated February 2, 2023, had refused to give consent for handing over the land and also concluded that “boat yard land can’t be given to YSR Congress Party for building party office”.

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In case of no consent from the Irrigation Department, no lease deed could be entered into and as there is no legal position, the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) cannot entertain the permission for construction.

The CRDA rules empower the authority to remove such illegal constructions and the persons who have made such illegal construction are also liable for penal action.

Complaints were filed before the CRDA and the Municipal Corporation and show-cause notices were issued on May 20, 2024, to the YSRCP and Ramky Infra, the builder constructing the office. However, both failed to respond to the notices. Following this, the demolition orders were passed on June 14.

About a week later on June 22 morning, the authorities of Mangalagiri-Tadepalli Municipal Corporation (MTMC) began demolition with bulldozers and excavators.

–IANS

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